These quick and easy recipe shows you How to Candy Pecans for the best sweet and salty garnish, mix-in, salad topping, or snack. They are super versatile, crazy simple to make, and totally addicting.
Best Candied Pecans with Brown Sugar
We can’t get enough of Candied Pecans for a million reasons and this recipe will show you how. Not only are they insanely addicting, but they are also super simple and can be used on so many dishes! Sure, they are amazing on salads, but they can be used to add tons of sweet and salty flavor and crunchy texture to everything from cookie dough to pancakes to Sweet Potato Casserole.
During the holidays, they are also perfect for gifting. Fill up a mason jar with Candied Pecans, throw on a cute tag, and gift away.
You can try making these with different combinations of sweet and savory spices or even use different types of nuts. Soon enough, you will be adding these to absolutely everything, from breakfast through dessert.
Roasted Candied Pecans Ingredients
- Pecans - we’ll usually use whole pecan halves, but if all you have are pieces they will work. Just keep a close eye on them while they toast as they may not take as long as the halves. You can also substitute other nuts like walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts or pistachios.
- Butter - you can use unsalted butter or salted butter, depending on your taste.
- Brown Sugar - you can use light or dark brown sugar. Dark brown will give you a stronger molasses flavor than light.
- Ground Cinnamon - use your favorite type of ground cinnamon. If you like things a little spicy, add a pinch of cayenne pepper! Or, toss in a bit of your favorite warm baking spices.
- Vanilla Extract - pure vanilla extract tastes best.
How to Make Candied Pecans
- Toast pecans. In a large frying pan over medium heat, add pecans in a single layer and toast, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly golden. You may need to do this in a couple of batches. Once toasted, remove the pecans and set them aside.
- Cook the brown sugar mixture. In a medium saucepan, add the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and water. Bring to a boil, then continue to boil for 2 minutes, constantly stirring, until the liquid has reduced.
- Combine the sugar and nuts. After 2 minutes, turn off the heat and add the toasted pecans and vanilla extract to the pot. Stir until coated, then pour the pecans onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread out so that the nuts aren't touching.
- Bake. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- Serve or store. Use immediately, as a garnish or snack, or store in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy!
- Add spices. Both sweet and savory spices would taste great on this recipe for Candied Pecans, depending what you are using them for. If you plan to toss these onto a salad or a cheese plate, try adding a pinch of cayenne pepper and some cumin. Or, if you plan to use them to serve with ice cream or to top a pie, try adding in cardamom, nutmeg, ginger or even pumpkin pie spice.
- Try different nuts. This recipe works great with basically every nut, including cashews, peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios. You’ll need to adjust the toasting time, but otherwise you will make them exactly the same way.
- Use maple syrup. Try using half maple syrup and half brown sugar.
Frequently Asked Questions
The most likely reason is that you did not boil the sugar mixture for long enough. Make sure that you boil for 2 full minutes so that the water has a chance to evaporate and the sugar is able to reach a high enough temperature.
Quite a while, actually. As long as they are stored in an airtight container, they will stay fresh for about a week at room temperature, about 3 weeks in the refrigerator or about a month in freezer.
All sorts of things! Besides snacking on them, try tossing them into salads, onto ice cream or cheesecakes, into cookie dough or even sprinkling over roasted chicken or pork. They also make a great easy homemade gift for the holidays.
Storing Candied Pecans
- Room Temperature: store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Refrigerator: store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
- Freezer: store in freezer bags or another airtight container for up to 1 month.
How to Candy Pecans
- 2 cups Pecans whole
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- ½ cup Brown Sugar
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ¼ cup Water
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchement.
- In a large frying pan over medium heat, add pecans in a single layer and toast, stirring occasionally until fragrant and lightly golden. You may need to do this in a couple of batches. Once toasted, remove the pecans and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, add the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and water. Bring to a boil, then continue to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the liquid has reduced.
- After 2 minutes, turn off the heat and add the toasted pecans and vanilla extract. Stir until coated, then pour the pecans onto the prepared baking sheet and spread out so that the nuts aren't touching. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- Use immediately, as a garnish or snack, or store in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy!
More of our Favorite Pecan Recipes:
- Caramel Pecan Pie
- Caramel Pecan Monkey Bread
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Streusel Topping
- Pumpkin Stuffed French Toast with Pecan Crumble
- More Desserts
- More Garnishes
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These Candied Pecans are insanely addicting, super simple and can be used on so many dishes from salads to ice cream. They're sweet, salty and add loads of texture.